Chris Powers, american golf.
Which Putter do you require?
The most frequented golf club to be pulled from a player’s bag, Putters make up almost 50% of all shots taken in a single round.
The fewer Putts we make, the lower our scores will tally at the end of the game, so choosing the right Putter for your game is imperative for a solid performance and higher chance of success. Here is everything you need to know about which Putter is best suited to your needs.
Lie a Toe-Down Putter horizontal and the toe will point to the ground, hence the name. Toe-Down Putters are popular among golfers with an in-to-out-to-in or strong arc stroke type as the golf club enables them to power through the swing without over-indulging and missing the hole.
A traditional favourite for many golfers down the years, Mid-Slant Putters will balance at around 45 degrees and tend to have a full-shaft offset. Mid-Slant Putters encourage less extreme rotation for a slight arc stroke type, thus achieving more balanced performances. The first incarnation of a Mid-Slant Putter was introduced by Ping Golf, and the huge critical acclaim it garnered is the reason it has been recreated and re-imagined by nearly every golf manufacturer.
The face of these Putters will point upwards should you balance the shaft on your finger, meaning that the centre of gravity is directly below the axis of the shaft, so the golf club head will remain in the square position throughout to straighten putting stroke during forward motion. Face-Balanced Putters are ideal for straight stroke golfers with a ‘back and through’ approach.
Traditionalists will always point to the Blade Putter as their chosen golf club for sinking the ball in the hole. Blade Putters are the oldest Putter still widely used on golf courses around the world and for the most part they will be toe-down designed. Because of their relatively small heads and higher centre of gravity, Blade Putters offer little margin for error and are good golf clubs for beginners.
From the oldest to newest, most modern Putters fall into the Peripheral Weighted category. These Putters have added weight in the heel and toe for increased MOI, and this measures how much the golf club head twists upon impact with the ball. Peripheral Weighted Putters offer higher MOI in order to prevent golf club head twist, whilst allowing for straighter putts even on the occasional miss-hit.
Mallet-Shaped Putters make aiming easier, and they achieve this by having a larger surface area on the crown with plenty of room for different alignment aids and designs. Mid-Shaped Putters are normally face-balanced and Peripheral Weighted, so offer much of the same performance as other Putters.
Metal putter faces lend important feedback to the golfer through feel and sound. Immediately upon impact with the golf ball you are able to hear the type of connection made, and this is beneficial as this tells where the centre of your putter is. A softer material will limit the sound and give you less feedback than a Metal putter face can.
Insert Technology is ever-evolving to include a variety of materials that aid your game. From rubber and elastomers, through to ceramic composites and other metals, each one helps chisel your performance into the masterpiece you desire. The result of using lighter materials is that the steels weight can then be redistributed to the heel and toe for increased MOI. Softer inserts also help reduce the hop or skid that occurs at impact, meaning the golf ball begins rolling earlier and holds its line better, too.
Offering the feel of a metal face and designed to get the golf ball rolling immediately, Groove Face Putters are more recent in their development. There has been a significant rise in golfers utilizing Putters with grooved inserts, and this trend looks set to continue. Although there may be few questioning looks on whether Grooves are really necessary on a Putter, they have managed to quell the problem of skidding, sliding, back spinning, and even hopping before the golf ball can begin rolling on the green, thus allowing for immediate forward movement the moment the golf ball is struck.
Standard (33-35 inches)
Standard (33-35 inches) Putters are still the most common lengths used by golfers. Acting as an extension to the arms, the Putter produces a pendulum effect that makes it easier to hold a constant swing. The length you choose will of course depend on your height and posture, two important aspects of getting the correct equipment for your game. By choosing the right length, it will encourage you to get your eyes directly over the golf ball while remaining in stance that is comfortable and practical.
Belly (42-46 inches)
Belly Putters have enjoyed a significant rise in popularity over recent years, due largely to stability brought on by anchoring the butt of the golf club to your belly. Interestingly, with the news of new rules being introduced regarding the third point of contact, how golfers adjust their styles with this particular Putter will be keenly watched.
Long (48-52 inches)
The least common of the three lengths is the Long Putter, which can be rested above the belly button, chest or chin. The Long Putter differs from the Belly Putter and can require a complete change in grip to Belly and traditional Putters. A tactic used by most golfers is to grip the golf club with their left hand, holding the Putter into their body, with the right hand working as a claw in the middle section of the Putter to pull and push through the line of the putt like a swinging pendulum. This moves the entire stroke of the Long Putter’s power into the right hand, but it’s a tough skill to master and can be incredibly hard to perform successfully in windy conditions, which is probably why only a few pros adopt this method.